New Balance MT110 Preview

New Balance has had a string of hits with lightweight and minimalist trail shoes. From the MT100 to the MT101 and, most recently, the Minimus Trail. In January 2012, New Balance will release the MT110/WT110 ($85), its follow up to the popular MT101 that will include a number of features from NB’s Minimus line. We thought you’d like some preliminary info on the MT110.

[Here’s our full MT110 review as well as our in-depth Making of the MT110 article with Anton Krupicka and Erik Skaggs interviews. We highly recommend reading all three pieces.]

New Balance MT110

The New Balance MT110 (men's).

Minimalist Construction

With the MT110, New Balance has brought minimalist principles to its flagship line of lightweight trail shoes. First off, the MT110 will be made on the company’s natural running last, which debuted in this year’s Minimus line. The natural running last encourages a mid-foot strike while featuring a wide forefoot for natural toe splay. Second, New Balance has dropped the heel-toe drop from the MT101’s 10mm to a mere 4mm in the MT110. The shoes have a stack height 19mm at the heel and 15mm at the toe. In addition, both the men’s MT110 and women’s WT110 will be available in wide sizes from the outset! So while this is not a “barefoot shoe,” it’s sure to please many a minimalist shoe fan.

Weight
At least on the spec sheets, at 7.7 ounces for a US men’s 9, the MT110 are slightly heavier than the MT101’s 7.5 ounces. Still, that’s quite light for a “lightweight trail racer” that many folks will undoubtedly wear as an everyday trainer.

Upper
The MT110 features a two-piece upper. There’s a lightweight, synthetic, laser cut outer layer for support and a soft interior lining. The heel counter has been “redesigned,” which, considering the minimal counter on the MT101, could actually mean that one’s been added. Moving further away from the heel chafing issues of the MT100, the interior lining has been brought up and over the top of the heel for comfort. The tongue will essentially be the same as found in the MT101.

New Balance WT110

The New Balance WT110 (women's version).

Additional Construction Details

  • As with the Minimus line, the insole will be non-removable.
  • There’s a full forefoot rockplate albeit a thin one.
  • The outsole only has rubber applied to high wear areas as found with athlete testing of the MT101.
New Balance MT110 WT110 outsole

The New Balance WT110's outsole

Additional Notes
We’ve seen the MT110 out at the Hardrock 100 where a competitor wore them for the entire race as well as at another race this summer. Since full reviews will be going up so soon, we feel comfortable sharing that the MT110 held up well although, unsurprisingly, they may have been “a little thin” for 100 miles over incredibly difficult terrain.

New Balance MT110

The New Balance MT110 after completing the Hardrock 100.

Call for Comments
What do you think of the forthcoming New Balance MT110?

There are 130 comments

  1. Nate

    Bob,

    I have Mortons Foot. I have put a couple hundred miles on a pair of the 110's and the fit is absolutely perfect. If you try on a pair of minimus' you will know exactly how they fit since they are based on the same last. I ran the first 75 miles of Leadville in them and didn't have a blister which is the first time that has ever happened.

  2. Jordan

    Got an early release pair of these last week from our NB rep at my store. UNBELIEVABLE SHOE. I loved the 101's and was curious as to how they could improve it. For those that liked the heel of the 101, it feels almost as if instead of cutting down the heel, they lifted the forefoot a little bit to create the 4 mm offset. The forefoot feels a little bit softer now; that could be from more padding or more aggresive lugs that grip like crazy this time around. Great shoe, great price. I only hope in the future versions that they don't change a thing.

  3. Jason

    I bought a pair last night from our local NB store and ran a few miles in them this morning on asphalt. Felt great! At first lace-up in the store they feel loose, as if there's too much room. But don't be tempted to go down a size. The extra space in the toe box is there by design. (I wear men's size 14) For the first time I felt my toes contributing to my run. I figure it's about time all 10 of them start helping out; they've been lazy, especially the little short ones on the end. Ha! I strongly recommend these shoes.

  4. Danny Smith

    Just finished a 16 mile run in my NB 101's and went to the local NB store. They had the 110's in size 13, with a military discount they were 80 bucks. Can't wait to run in them tomorrow. What a way to start the New Year. :)

      1. Andy

        A few stores in CA and NV have them — I called Eclipse Running in Reno and they graciously sent me a pair. It seems it will be at least another few weeks before online outlets and other retailers start getting them in.

  5. Ben Luedke

    Well…my initial enthusiasm has given way to concern. The shoes are, at least at first, pretty awesome. Super comfy fit, friendly to bare feet and perfect roominess while still being form/foot fitting. Felt nimble running around outside my house. And then…… the ball of my left foot, behind the fifth metatatsal started hurting. It feels as though the insoles (not removable) are pushing up at the outside of the foot. Like a ball-of-foot support vs. arch support. Weird, why would any shoe be designed as if the bottom of your foot is shaped in a V?

    I'm pretty worried, as this seems pretty serious. Planning to get to the mountain early tomorrow (before my 15 mile race/run) to take them out for a bit before being committed to 15 miles and a potential foot injury….concerned in Seattle…

  6. Lee

    Ben,

    A few reviews have also pointed out the situation with the footbed. Thus far everyone said as soon as the foam broke down a bit it went away. 20 miles of solid running should make it a non-issue.

      1. Ben Luedke

        Took mine out yesterday for 16 miles of strenuous mountain running. Love the shoes. The slight foam build-up on the lateral side wasn't a factor during my run and I wasn't sore afterward. Hope the shoes hold up for a long time. They may not be robust in design, but they are currently my favorite mountain running shoes.

    1. Ben Luedke

      Apparently Pete, from Runblogger, developed post tibial tendinitis after a long trail run in the 110s. Hopefully I can break the shoes in before they break me in…yikes. New Balance needs to take heed of this pronto.

    2. Andy

      Took 'em for my second run today, a decent 25m pounding on technical terrain. I had few problems and really loved the feel and traction – didn't really notice the footbed issue. But upon return to my car, much to my dismay, I found a huge rip in the outer layer of the upper, the black mesh, on the forefoot behind the big toe. Didn't notice it while running. Now the orange sock liner or intermediary layer is exposed. I guess there have to be some sacrifices in durability when a trail shoe weighs in at under 8 oz. But in all my years of running trail I've never seen anything like this. And only my second run! Plan to call NB on Monday and see what they will do, but the tear resistance factor is definitely an issue. Never had this problem with the Minimus – different upper material.

      1. Bryon Powell

        Others, have had traumatic rips of the MT110 upper (i.e., catching it on a rock or impaling it on a stick) and have not found such rips to significantly degrade fit/support or to expand from subsequent use.

        1. Andy

          Thanks, Bryon, that's good news. I also hadn't noticed any change in fit or support but was concerned it would spread — hopefully nothing a little duct tape won't fix! Otherwise the shoe deserves it's high praise. Definitely will be the go-to shoe at least for runs 50k and under.

          1. Bryon Powell

            I know it's happened to Erik Skaggs and Ty Draney. Then again, Joe Grant's shoes looked like they were in pretty good shape after Hardrock. We'll definitely read more such reports, but folks will have to keep the relative value of aesthetics an function in mind.

            1. Andy

              Agree. The aesthetics is completely immaterial (no pun intended). I for one am not fond of the Ziggy stardust upper anyway, but the fit and performance are matchless. If only I could run like Erik, Ty, or Joe I would wear clown shoes and an outfit to match and not mind one bit!

  7. Jack

    WTF is up with the footbed on these 110s? I've been wearing these for about 2 weeks now and I'm not sure that the amount the lateral side of the sole needs to come down is going to 'break in' as others have suggested. In fact, I had to get out a utility knife and shave down 3 lugs on each shoe on the outside most part of the lateral side. It improved things marginally.

    If you're manufacturing minimal shoes, don't you think that making the sole flat should be one of the (if not THE) most important aspects of the construction?

    It seems worse in the left shoe, so I'm inclined to think that it may be a manufacturing defect, but it sounds as though other people have found this to be a problem as well.

    This is enormously frustrating, because this issue aside, the shoes are perfect. It is, of course, way too big an annoyance to overlook however. I may complain to NB and see if I can get another, flatter pair of 110s.

    .. so close and yet so far from being the perfect trail shoe.

  8. KenZ

    Have now put in ~ 100 miles, not much I realize, on the 110s. I am probably an outlier here, but I am pretty sure now I prefer the 101s. So many people seem to like the 100 more, so again, I'm probably the exception.

    My noted differences:

    *the 110 definitely has a much more secure heel/side for lateral stability, as in less foot side slippage (aka "sloppage") when descending and turning quickly.

    *the 110 material is less 'givey.' This lends to the above-mentioned increased lateral stability, but also means that if you have a wide foot (like I do), you definitely need to order the wide size variant. The regular (one one width only) MT101 fits my moderately wide foot just fine, and so does the wide size (E) MT110… but I wouldn't want to go more narrow.

    *I personally like the rubbery soft heel cup of the 101 much better. Yes, this is probably one of the reasons the 101 has more slop side to side, but I just find it more comfortable.

    *For me (and now we get really personal), the 101 just feels more fun to run in. I can't quite put my finger on it, but when I put on a 101 I just want to bolt out the door. I don't get that same feeling with the 110, and I really don't know why. Maybe as much as I like to think I like minimal shoes, it's the larger drop?

    Anyway, I've just ordered myself another pair of 101s; sad for me they're no longer in production; good for me they're getting really inexpensive!

    PS- The built up lateral stuff doesn't bother me so much, but I did notice it. To me it felt less like a lateral build up, and more like the shoe had broken down on the inside a bit (which is where my shoes usually break down, thus explaining why it didn't bother me that much), leading to a slant. Mostly noticeable on smooth trails and roads; on even moderately rough trails didn't notice it at all.

  9. Steve

    Ive put maybe 35 miles in them. Most of that very technical, and just ripped the mesh about my feet. Its not a huge tear and I didnt notice till I was done. Im interested in seeing if the tear gets larger the more I run in them.

    1. Andy

      Yes, and they were super-responsive (and friendly too — the woman I spoke with is an aspiring ultra-runner!). They sent me a new pair before they had even received my torn ones. I see from other recent posts that this is happening pretty commonly. So far the replacements have held up to some serious punishment without problem, but hopefully NB will consider a modification to the upper material in future iterations. In particular, I think those little holes in an otherwise smooth upper can catch a stick and rip pretty readily. But I love the shoe and have barely worn anything else the past month.

      1. MikeZ

        The MT110's upper seems to hold up well as long as the meshed area of the upper is not subjected to sharp objects. I have recently put 1 pair of 110 through 70Ks of the most technical run imaginable with >3500 meters vertical gain. However, the running surface was volcanic rock fields, scree + scoria and multiple river crossing. The 110's upper held up without any tear even tho the midsole began to look tired. A subsequent outing with a brand new pair of 110 saw the upper ripped when the mesh caught a stick in the forest.

        In another word, MT110 seems to me, at the point, to be suitable for mountain/alpine type running where it could take a lot of shearing provided the sole of the shoe makes the inital contact whereas the less predictable environment in the forest with fallen branches can be more of a threat to the longetivity of the upper.

        Having said that, the tear was minimal and it would be interesting to see if further running changes the size of the tear.

        1. Andy

          Agree – I live in the northeast where woodland running over branches, thorns, etc is the norm. Per Bryon (see above), the tears apparently do not "expand from subsequent use" — unless, of course, torn further by another sharp object. So far I've got maybe 75 miles of woodsy singletrack on the new pair and they have held up well.

  10. Kevin

    I took my 110's out for their first run today which consisted of 12 miles of trail. The lateral build up on the insole did a number on my right foot! My left foot felt fine which is good but also frustrating because I love everything about this shoe but my right foot was not happy. Please tell me this breaks down!!?? It sounds as those people have been having this issue a bit. I'm patient and willing to run through it and maybe throw a really thin insole for the time being because everything else is seems great on this shoe…

  11. Kevin

    I'm in the exact same boat! Took my 110's out today for a first run of 12 miles on trails/fire roads. Super excited with anticipation as the shoes felt good from the start. By mile 9 my right foot in the lateral pinky metatarsal hurt so bad I stopped and took an insole from my buddy's Newtons (ridiculous fix but it was that or walk it home ) just to finish the last few miles. Super bummed as the first 9 or so miles felt great and my left foot never bothered me at all! I love everything else about the shoe and feel so frustrated. May try shaving lugs as well or putting in a thin insole to counter the lateral build up… anybody try heating the footbed up to break down/ mold out that build up??? suggestions??

    1. Jack

      Hey Kevin.

      It does get a little better, I can offer that much in the way of consolation. I have more than 100 miles in mine now, mostly rocky, technical trails. They are breaking in and molding to my feet much better than they had originally. I did shave off a bunch of the lateral-most lugs on both shoes (10 on the left and 6 on the right side). This helps somewhat.

      I did get some pretty bad ITBS that I'm fairly certain was linked to the 110. It started right when I got these shoes, on the side that seemed to have a less even footbed (the left). I've never had a problem with ITBS on the left side, and I'm not training huge volume right now (mostly short treadmill runs at the gym and one 2-3 hour long run on the weekend). I can't really attribute this injury to anything else. It's frustrating. If I were to do it over again, I might have rotated this shoe into my training instead of using it for pretty much every single run from day one. That is probably a good rule of thumb to follow anyway.

      Good luck!

      Jack

  12. Evan

    I started running in the MT110's maybe 2 months ago. I love the way they fit (especially the heel cup) but noticed the footbed strangeness right away just trying them on. I didn't really notice it while running though, so I ran with it. But I did a 50 miler a couple weeks ago, and I have had a knee issue (patellar tracking I think, due to ITB tightness I think), and I can't help but suspect the MT110's. I've never had problems like this before, and I've run much higher mileage in the past. Don't think I'll be running in them anymore, at least not until this knee issue goes away, and even then, I don't think I'll use them for anything very long. It's a shame, if they fixed the footbed to be neutral and flat, I'd consider it the perfect shoe for racing in- it is just the right balance of minimalism and protection for me.

    1. Jack

      Evan, I gave up on them about 2 weeks ago also, and my ITB issue went right away. I'm convinced that the shoes were to blame.

      The last straw for me came after a 20 miler in them where I started to notice quite a lot of pain in my right arch from the over-pronation that this sole induces over the course of the run. I wound up with pain in the post-tibial tendon that was extremely uncomfortable on the best of days, and I'm still not 100% yet.

      I also think that if the footbeds were flat, that they would be far and away the best shoes out there. For now, I'm back to the original 100's I bought 2 years ago.

      These ought to come with a complimentary belt sander to allow the purchaser to customize the feel of the sole to his or her liking.

      Jack

  13. Phill S

    Just got myself a pair last night in the UK. £35… I was astounded! Go New Balance. Just when I was thinking they weren't going to come out and go with the Salomon Sense :)

  14. Joe D

    ITB syndrome (ITBS) from MT110s too – I think.

    I have been running in Vibram 5 Fingers and in MT101s on trails for some time and absolutey love these.

    I recently purchased MT110s based on Irunfar.com's reviews and they seemed to be a great shoe, but I immediately (within 1 week) had IT band pain and for the first time in my life, I had to go to the doctor for a running injury.

    I cannot say for sure that the MT110s did it, but the way that these shoes point your knees inward by forcing your landing on the inside of your sole – over-pronation – sure seems to be a likely candidate. It is strange how much these shoes force that type of landing on me.

    My physical therapist also mentioned that the shoe and over-pronation was the likely candidate here. It just puts too much stress on the knee if you are going any signicant distances. Uggh, too bad, I really wanted to love these shoes, but I am not going to risk additional injury by hanging on to them.

    I will stick with the Vibrams and the MT101s in the future.

  15. Jack

    I'm conducting a little experiment with mine. I had already gotten to the point where I was ready to chuck them, so I thought as a last ditch effort that I'd try to build up the arch area with gobs of shoe goo. I have 2 applications on the sole so far in an attempt to remedy the collapsing of the soft blue midsole section. I'll keep y'all updated and take some photos if by some stroke of luck this makes these shoes useable again.

    Fingers crossed.

    Jack

  16. Brad Nicholson

    Bryon, great review and superb insight with the comments here. My last pair of MT101s are close to needing replacement and now I'm stuck on whether or not to go with the 110s. I felt the 101s and 100s were both very close to perfection for my running style and needs. Brad

  17. Lance

    I've put about 150 miles on my 110's and I love them so far, better than the 101's. The main improvement in my opinion is the upper, it is much more comfortable and breathable than the 101. The outsole rubber is also improved. I noticed the sole buildup initially but it seems like while running on trails I have gotten used to it and it doesn't bother me. When running on road stretches connecting to trail I do still notice it somewhat awkwardly.

    I think one thing to consider when buying these shoes is that people who have had negative experiences with the 110's are more likely to post here and voice their concerned rather than everyone who has had positive experiences. Of the people I have seen around running in 110's, most people say they like them. I have only met one person who said he still preferred the 101's. If you are still unsure maybe buy directly from NB. They seem like the kind of company that would be willing to take your shoes back even after you have dirtied them up on the trail as ling as you took the time to write out a letter/email explaining why you were unsatisfied with their product.

  18. Ethan

    Count me among the disappointed. Have struggled with knee issues for the first time ever after stubbornly hanging on to them for the durability, fit, lugs, and drop, despite the infernal slanted footbed. Despite the proliferation of minimalist trail runners over the past year +, there still doesn't seem to be a good competitor. I'm fond of Inov-8, but they are either too narrow in the toebox like the 212's (bam, tendonitis) or blow out after <200 miles (the 190s / 195s) or have too much drop (the Roclites). Thinking about the Lone Peaks but they just seem bulky.

  19. John Caamano

    The MT110 is a good shoe. I love the Minimus trail but the soles were to thin for sharp cobblestone trails in China. The rockplate on the MT110 solved this problem. Unfortunately, the uppers did not survive the Hangzhou Mountain Marathon. The uppers on both shoes have major gashes through them. Looks like I will need a new pair after 3 mountain runs.

    1. Bryon Powell

      John,
      If the damage is only through the outer later, keep running in them. Folks have tackled some pretty gnarly terrain in MT110 with gashes in the outer layer and those gashes haven't grown over time.

  20. Seth

    Anyone have problems adjusting from the 101's to the 110's as far as the drop difference (101's have 10mm and 110's have 4mm)?

  21. Adam

    I bought these 5 days before my first 100 mile race and wore them the entire time. Didn't have one issue with the shoe or with my feet.

  22. Steve T

    I too noticed the lateral side build up but it is an intentional design feature as that is where Anton was chewing out his prototypes (the lateral forefoot).

    Those commenting here regarding IT and posterior tendon injuries probably have underlying issues such as weak feet and medial glutes that are not able to help stabilise the foot and leg through the gait cycle to stop the knee from tracking medially.

    I have found doing exercises to specifically strengthen these areas has allowed me to wear these comfortably without a problem. Once on the trails the lateral to medial slope is not an issue anyways.

    On another note, I have just purchased and eagerly awailt Byron's Relentless Forward Progress. Can't wait.

  23. steve n

    Did someone mention a newer version. what changes would be made, i think more cushion will be added. making it more suitable for a broader range of people.

    Did i dream this or not!

    1. Andy

      NB will replace them free. I ripped my first pair in fewer miles, but have had later pairs hold up for 100s of miles. Unlike the 1010, in which the upper dissolves reliably after 100 miles.

      Ben – How do the Salomons fit? Do they have the natural last and roomy toebox of the 110 and 1010 or are they narrower? Can't find them locally and am reluctant to order. Thanks.

      1. Ben Luedke

        I wear a 10.5, 2E in width with New Balance. Wear either an 11 or 11.5 in Salomons. They are more narrow than NB, but they really wrap around the foot vs. just go across. Hug your foot, but they're not annoying, and the toe box is roomy enough for my feet provided I wear VERY thin socks. If you order them through Running Warehouse and don't like 'em, they can be returned easily.

        1. Andy

          Thanks. Funny — I was just "sizing" them on the Running Warehouse website. And the Sense is on sale, now only $150 and change! Maybe I'll take a chance — still searching for the perfect 100m shoe.

      2. Trailrunner 76

        I did email them and sent them a picture. I received a return email asking for my info last Friday. I didn't hear anything back yet. Waiting.

  24. Trailrunner76

    Ben, I had two pairs of XTWings and a pair of the speed cross 3. I am interested in trying the Sense Mantra, but my size is out of stock here and on RW.

  25. alfredo

    compre varios tenis para entrenar para mi segundo ultra en el desierto de laguna salada, unos salomon speedcross, unos scott aztec 2 y los NB110, y sin miedo a equivocarme son los que mejor se acomodan a mi pie, no corro minimalista siempre pero la ventaja por la cual correré con ellos mi ultra es porque son los únicos que sentí que se van haciendo amplios conforme corro y así no aprietan mi pie después de 50 kms !
    muy buenos tenis ! probablemente compre otro par

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